I like used books. There is nothing wrong with buying new books, and I do this from time to time, but I also like to wander through the second hand bookshops to search for hidden treasure. Like the time I happened upon a no nonsense ultrasound study guide just as I had started studying for my board exam and needed to refresh my memory. It turned out to be an excellent resource, and was a bargain at 50 cents. It was marked down from $1 because the cover was ripped. Found it at the Rancho Coastal Thrift Shop in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California. How random is that? Out of curiosity, I looked it up online. Out of print and difficult to find, the only copy I could locate was priced at around $60.
New books are pretty, but sterile. No dog-eared corners or torn covers. No broken spines or yellowed pages. No bookshop stamps or annotations. Some used books have the previous owner's name written inside the cover, or a library stamp, or maybe something that the used book shop put there. If you're lucky there might be something more. I enjoy those random snippets that people sometimes scribe there. It might be where they got the book, or when, or who gave it to them. Maybe an opinion about the contents, or a verse of poetry. You never know what you'll find in a book that has been around and changed hands. Like this -- I am reading The Fall of Hyperion for the second time since it was purchased from a used bookstore years ago. A Mr. H. M. Moore, Jr. left a note on the inside cover: